Movie Mutations: The Changing Face of World Cinephilia first appeared just over a decade ago. It was sparked by a round of letters among film critics jetting via snail mail in 1997 and then a second round conducted via email in 2002. “The framework for this endeavor,” explained Benjamin Halligan in Senses of Cinema in 2004, “was constructed by Jonathan Rosenbaum who, noting a ‘mysterious phenomenon of… global synchronicity’ (p. 61) between the tastes, styles and themes among a ‘cabal’ of cinephiles of the same age from different continents, drew them together to see what canonical alchemy would be occasioned.”
Now an Iranian publisher is bringing out a version in Persian (the book has already been translated into Croatian, Dutch and Italian) and editors Rosenbaum and Adrian Martin have written a new preface—again, in the form of letters. It’s clear that two of our best critics have become close friends. What’s more, Martin writes that “Movie Mutations, quite simply, opened the world for me.”
He’s got another book coming out, Mise en scène and Film Style: From Classical Narrative to New Media Art, and we can read a sneak peek in the new issue of De Filmkrant, a special number on David Cronenberg: “The seating arrangement at a middle-class family’s dinner table, the respective positions of doctor and patient in an analytic session… These situations, put into mirror-relation by A Dangerous Method, are at once inherently cinematic and inescapably social. It is a social mise en scène.”
With New Filipino Cinema 2014 set to open on Wednesday at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, followed by special screenings of Lav Diaz‘s Norte, the End of History, the new seventh issue of EatDrinkFilms features a preview of the series by Francis “Oggs” Cruz and two critical perspectives on Norte (from Cruz and Richard Bolisay). Also: Michael Fox previews SF DocFest, on through June 19 and, in anticipation of this weekend’s Charlie Chaplin Days, Gary Meyer writes up an appreciation of the great comedian.
Ben Slater, author of Kinda Hot, a book about the making of Peter Bogdanovich’s Saint Jack (1979), tells another story about the making of a movie in Singapore. The Virgin Soldiers (1969) is an adaptation of Leslie Thomas’s novel featuring Lynn Redgrave and, for about one second, David Bowie. Music by Ray Davies… all in all, it’s an odd tale.
Color “was present from film’s earliest days, appearing in a variety of forms and techniques: tinting, toning, hand coloring, and stenciling. The result was a burgeoning, playful, experimental, and often spectacular experience, as color slipped and spread through the frame.” Jeremy Polacek has clips and more at Hyperallergic.
“Little known outside his native country, Marco Bellocchio has been a mainstay of Italian cinema for the past 50 years, albeit a most singular and elusive one,” writes Celluloid Liberation Front at Indiewire. “With his new film Dormant Beauty opening in New York this week ahead of a wider expansion, and in the wake of a recent retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, it’s time that more audiences took note.” In 2012, I collected initial reactions to Dormant Beauty as they came out of Venice and Toronto. For fresher takes, see Critics Round Up.
Adam Nayman talks with James Gray for Cinema Scope.
For Dennis Lim, writing at Artforum, “at least in the number of good-to-great films, Cannes 2014 seemed to me one of the stronger editions in some time. Its stature ensures that Cannes always has the pick of the crop; the problem, and the mystery, is where the most venturesome films will end up.” And at Film Comment, Gavin Smith, Charlotte Garson, Joumane Chahine and Alex Horwath discuss this year’s edition as well.
At Movie Morlocks, Richard Harland Smith talks us through the new issue of Shock Cinema.
Jennine Lanouette‘s essay on screenplay structures for independent films has sparked some lively comments at Filmmaker. Meantime, her Kickstarter campaign for Screentakes, media-rich ebooks on screenplay analysis, is still going strong.
Three contributors to CutPrintFilm write up their favorite ghost films.
IN THE WORKS
Deadline‘s Nellie Andreeva reports that Darren Aronofsky will executive produce MaddAddam, an HBO series adapted from Margaret Atwood’s trilogy of speculative fiction novels Oryx and Crake, Year of the Flood and MaddAddam. It’s “set in the mid-21st century in a world where corporations have taken over for governments and the genetic modification of organisms is perversely ubiquitous. It centers on the events before and after a Waterless Flood that wipes out almost all of the world’s population and follows an extensive cast of characters, including those responsible for the apocalypse and those struggling to survive it.”
David O. Russell’s movie about Joy Mangano, the housewife-turned-millionaire who invented the Miracle Mop, will be released on Christmas Day—2015. Naturally, it’ll star Jennifer Lawrence. Leonard Pearce has more.
Also at the Film Stage, Jordan Raup reports that Nicolas Winding Refn’s next film will be “the Polly Stenham-scripted all-female horror feature,” I Walk with the Dead.
The BBC reports that Judi Dench will join Christoph Waltz, Holliday Grainger and Zach Galifianakis in Tom Stoppard’s adaptation of Deborah Moggach’s novel Tulip Fever to be directed by Justin Chadwick.
Meantime, Ghostbusters, celebrating its 30th anniversary, will return to theaters on August 29. EW‘s Jeff Labrecque has details. And Lesley M.M. Blume tells the story of the film’s making in Vanity Fair.
Very sad news of death from cancer of gifted writer/thinker Niall Lucy RIP. His magnificent “The Western Suburbs”: http://t.co/d7MQwzreH4
— Adrian Martin (@AdrianMartin25) June 6, 2014
Head to Critics Round Up to see what’s being said about the movies opening this weekend: Sébastien Betbeder’s 2 Autumns, 3 Winters, Sam Fleischner’s Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, Bobcat Goldthwait’s Willow Creek, Doug Liman’s Edge of Tomorrow, Alex van Warmerdam’s Borgman (earlier: reviews from Cannes 2013) and Ti West’s The Sacrament (earlier: reviews from Venice and Toronto 2013).
More browsing? See the Film Doctor.